Legal battle ensues after pet bobcat’s found

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (NBC/WCAU) — A woman may not be able to keep her pet bobcat after an investigation suggests it may be an illegally owned, purebred bobcat.

The animal was seized after it escaped, frightening a New Jersey neighborhood.

From a cage at Popcorn Park Zoo, Rocky growled at WCAU just hours before owner Ginny Fine found out from a judge that she’s not getting him back soon — as she’d hoped.

“I think it’s unfair,” said Fine. “I think it’s cruel.”

The 38-pound animal escaped from Fine’s Stafford Township home on March 25, prompting concerns from neighbors and police.

Fine says she found Rocky in some nearby woods throughout the weekend, but he didn’t stay with her long.

Authorities seized him and brought him to the Zoo, the result of a previous court order issued when Rocky got loose in September.

His Township Animal License indicates he’s a bobcat hybrid.

“He has never hurt anybody,” said Fine.

But in court, WCAU learned the state suspects otherwise.

“Fish and Game feels this, in fact, may not be a hybrid cat — that it may be a purebred bobcat, in which case Ms. Fine has no right to that animal,” said Judge Damian Murray, with the Stafford Township Municipal Court.

To find out for sure, Rocky’s blood will be drawn at the Zoo for DNA testing.

Fine says she bought him from a breeder in Montana – a breeder that, according to the judge, told New Jersey investigators it only sells purebred bobcats. Those are illegal to have as pets in the New Jersey city.

Still, Fine says she’s crushed she can’t take Rocky home.

“He’s like my child. He’s like my baby that is now in jail and doesn’t know anybody loves him. He’s just all alone,” said Fine.

The judge hopes to get the results of the testing in a week or two and will then make a decision about Rocky’s future.

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